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I prefer microwaves with handle doors to the 'pull open' facility that seems to be standard to most microwaves. This does not, of course, make a great deal of different to the overall microwaving experience, but I think the handle is an attractive feature. Similarly, if you are preparing food and have slippery hands it can often be easier to get a grip on the handle than manoeuvring your fingers around in the groove around the microwave door. The Sharp R24ST has a lustrous stainless steel outer, and a large, shaded window through which to view the contents of the microwave oven. On the lower right potion of the control panel is a dial for setting and altering cooking time. This is very simple to use, and not so overly sensitive that you have continually set it forward or back a fraction of a notch if it 'slips over.' I have found this to be an issue with other models, but with the R24ST you can achieve accuracy with ease. Above the dial are six buttons that serve various purposes. These include defrost, under which you can select the speed at which you wish this to occur. The manual boasts that the R24ST's defrost feature will defrost food 'faster than other conventional microwaves.' I frequently choose the Express Defrost option and have always found it to be exceptionally speedy, but at the same time it does have a tendency to unevenly distribute heat so that some areas of the meal remain cool, while others are rendered scaldingly hot. I prefer to defrost a meal slowly, then cook it at a steady temperature to ensure even cooking throughout. Other options allow you to cook meals from chilled, reheat drinks and cook numerous items simultaneously. In the case of the latter the microwave will transmit the waves of radiation in such a way that the numerous items are warmed equally at their various points on the plate, rather than radiation being automatically directed at the centre of the plate. This microwave has a 20 litre capacity and 800W output, so is more than adequate for most people's needs. It is powerful enough to allow you to work quickly and efficiently with a range of foodstuffs. I very often use it for reheating drinks, but also enjoy defrosting ready meals before finishing them off in the oven. Similarly, it is useful for poaching eggs, cooking jacket potatoes and warming sauces without boiling them. I have always found this to be a dependable product, and there are so many options on its menus that whether your needs are modest or more intricate, you are sure to get a lot of use out of this stylish device.
Short name: Sharp R24ST